In the modern world, where communication is as integral to our lives as our mobile phones and the barriers of countries have been removed, language, becomes the ultimate challenge. To overcome such language hindrances, some people have wandered out of their countries and learned languages, far and wide, different from their mother tongues. These people, or Translators, act as a bridge between two contracting parties, who want to trade amongst themselves, but alas, language becomes a severe problem.
Translators have an impervious role in the communications industry, where experts are highly revered for their skill and expertise in other languages. But how do we know that a translator has the skill set to handle difficult assignments? Some translators have a permanent job in upscale businesses, especially in government jobs and multi-national companies. Some translators work as freelancers and provide their services on a request basis. Based on the type of service, credentials, come into acceptance.
It is generally seen, or is the common scenario, that translators have to prove their capability on the basis of certificates or qualifications in the translation field, just like any other job requires so. It is commonly accepted principle that holding a college degree and a translation certificate in any language from a reputed university will do the thing for you. If a translator is looking for a high perched job in an embassy of his/her government anywhere in the World,then you might need to be certified from the best of the best universities offering such courses, to at least stand a chance of being considered. Now, to be certified through these universities, you might need to shell out a fortune to even enter one of these educational behemoths. Such universities, generally, would burn about a quarter of a million dollars worth a hole in your pocket. If you could withstand such a heavy investment, then these government jobs should be your only wish, as the payback could come in a little faster than the other freelance based option.
On the other hand, the translation industry is dominated by freelancers. Most of the companies hire translators for a short duration of time, probably for signing or understanding the terms of the business. Once they are done with the agreement, keeping a translator on its payroll might invite unforeseen or unwanted additional expenditure. When the axe comes down on the employees, translators would be the first to be sacked. Thus, job oriented translation business isn’t that steady a career.
Moreover, the most important thing that needs to be assessed is whether there are enough jobs available in the market to handle such an influx of graduates. The only job opportunity which has a high pay package is of U.N. based government agencies, and whether such job opportunities are enough to engulf a huge number of candidates? Nah! I don’t think so. Again, all top tiered students coming out fresh from these universities are opting to become a freelance translator, rather than engaging themselves in such strenuous jobs. The competition is pretty tough to handle, since the languages can be picked by anyone smart enough to understand the details. The freelance industry is booming as freelancers, as the name suggests, are free to work as per their schedule. Once the freelancer has worked hard and proven his worth from time to time, his name will surely start circling around. This way, they get more business than usual and start a full-time
If asked about certifications, it’s definitely an added advantage. The revenues flow in with ease when compared to proving yourself without any actual work in hand. Certified professionals needn’t prove their work by providing samples every time to clients, unlike the freelance ones. The government bodies also press for certified professionals. Overall, it’s a good thing for an added advantage, but in the end, experience does matter.
Once your name is through after you have cracked 4-5 assignments, the ratings start to come in and this is the time when goodwill kicks in. Now, certification doesn’t even matter, just your name and performance matters. You can choose a much cheaper option of undergoing a translation certificate program, wherein the training is to the point and equally rigorous. Especially the online ones are easier and can be taken as per convenience. The subtleties are always checked and silly mistakes can also be removed. A one on one approach gives you the practical edge over others, since the classes are conducted by renowned and fellow freelancers, who are experienced in the field for a long time.
In this business, the most coveted thing to look at would be the subject matter expertise. Being frequent on all things might come in handy now and then, but being an expert always helps. You shall be known to be the expert to look forward to, whenever the requirement arises. The language which suits you the most shall be the one you should be expertising in. But then, it is again a demand induced option and the amount of work is pretty scarce. So being nifty here and there on a few subjects would help you in the cause.
In the end, justifying whether the credentials are the only thing that one could use to drive the translation business is itself not justified, if you get what I mean. There are cases where even the under qualified of people are earning gazillion money, whereas the top notched post grad earns fairly well enough. And as a matter of fact, eligibility criteria for becoming a translator is not a college degree, rather a keen knack of understanding and fair amount of knowledge to start with. The highly paid college degrees may not do justice to the amount invested, since the theory of education is far off from the actual subtlety of practicality. Being a freelancer, on the other hand, will not only hone your skills, but also make you a better person, passionate about his work and disciplined towards his goals. Whatever the case may be, it is just you and your efforts.